Newcastle United midfielder, Jonjo Shelvey, has admitted that he simply did what the referee told him to do as he netted the winner at Sheffield United, with the help of VAR.
Shelvey was the only player to keep going as the linesman flagged for offside. The midfielder pounced on an Andy Carroll header to find himself in on goal. He kept his cool, too, slotting past Dean Henderson to make it 2-0 on the night.
The goal was shrouded in controversy. Most of the Sheffield United players did indeed stop when the flag went up.
Those player stoppages allowed Shelvey a clear run at goal. Indeed, goalkeeper Dean Henderson even failed to make a big attempt to save the attempt.
But, speaking after the game, Shelvey admitted he had simply done what the referee had asked of him.
“It was a bit of a weird goal. But the referee said to me before the game, that if I was through on goal and the lino flagged, that I should just continue,” Shelvey said (Official NUFC Twitter account).
“I wasn’t that confident – in being onside – but I just listened to the referee and you have to do as you’re told at the end of the day.”
Some Sheffield United fans had called on Shelvey to be booked for unsporting conduct. However, the goal stood and Newcastle went on to comfortably see the game out.
Nothing to do with Jonjo Shelvey
Let’s get things straight with this VAR call. It is nothing to do with Jonjo Shelvey and he has done nothing wrong. At all.
Shelvey simply played on and slotted the ball into the goal. Dean Henderson could and probably should have kept going, too. There was no whistle from the referee, so Shelvey was well within his rights to continue playing.
However, as some Sheffield United fans pointed out on Twitter, VAR has got its issues.
In the case of VAR and Jonjo Shelvey, it’s pretty safe to say that the Magpies midfielder did nothing wrong.
The powers that be have some big work to do with VAR going forward. Chris Wilder was not a happy man after the game and it would be little surprise to see some changes implemented in the coming weeks.
Put simply, the linesman shouldn’t have flagged. If he had kept his flag down, then all controversy is avoided.